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Devoted to DeathSanta Muerte, the Skeleton Saint$
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R. Andrew Chesnut

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199764662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199764662.001.0001

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Brown Candle

Brown Candle

History and Origins of the Cult

(p.27) Chapter 1 Brown Candle
Devoted to Death

R. Andrew Chesnut

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the history and origins of the cult of Saint Death. It examines who she is and how she became what she is today in the early years of the 21st century. In looking at her past, both myth and reality in the development of her cult are considered. A small minority of more sophisticated cult members are interested in the history of their beloved saint and have well-defined views on the matter. Others, who are not believers themselves, have embraced Santa Muerte and often death itself as an icon of Mexicanness and spun their own interesting stories about the origins of her devotion. It is shown that the myths surrounding the cult are often just as revealing as the reality and tell us much about the nature of the cult.

Keywords:   Santa Muerte, Saint Death, cults, cult members, Mexicans, devotion, devotees

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